Members of the Class of 2020 made it clear they wanted an in-person commencement ceremony, and UMF was happy to set a date for late summer. But we couldn’t let their final semester go uncelebrated, so we pulled together a Virtual Recognition in their honor.
Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined waking up to inches of snow settling on campus May 9 – the day scheduled for Commencement. There’s nothing about these times we could have imagined.
At the end of March, President Serna shared the news that UMF would not be holding a traditional commencement ceremony in May, as planned, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Soon after, he called for input from the graduating seniors who overwhelming expressed their desire to hold an in-person ceremony at a later date. With plans in motion for a late-August celebration, we couldn’t let the original Commencement day come and go without some recognition. Enter, the Virtual Recognition.
Since we couldn’t join the Class of 2020 in person, we invited our graduates, and the Farmington community, to follow along for a day of fun, well-wishes, and celebration held virtually. After all, they deserved it.“We are so proud of our graduates and all they have achieved this year,” said Edward Serna, UMF president. “They have inspired their families, fellow students, and communities with an exceptional level of determination and innovation during these unprecedented times. It is an honor to take this moment to celebrate their personal commitment and singular success in accomplishing their educational goals.”
The social media event celebrating this year’s 374 outstanding graduates began with a personal message from President Edward Serna and was followed by a series of short speeches from faculty, staff, community members, alumni, and fellow students that were originally posted on Instagram.
Just after noon, the UMF Alumni Council hosted a Virtual Toast via Zoom for the seniors, led by Council President Peter Osborne ’09 and Director of Annual Fund and Alumni Relations Katie O’Donnell ’07. “You are resilient, smart, capable, and wildly successful. I’m proud to be a Beaver with you,” said Osborne. “I’m confident you too will land on your feet and thrive. Cheers!”
And what would a celebration — even a virtual one — be without music? Maine-based musical talent GoldenOak joined in the fun with a virtual set for the graduates.
The virtual recognition came to a close with a UMF Class of 2020 Senior Slideshow featuring over 250 submitted photos the graduates took during their time at Farmington.
We are hopeful that this virtual recognition will tide everyone over until we’re able to host an in-person Commencement in August.
The full complement of videos can be found archived at https://www.umf.maine.edu/virtual-recognition/
Stay up-to-date on plans for the August Commencement ceremony at https://www.umf.maine.edu/commencement-2020/